Re-establishing an Ecological Discourse in the Policy Debate over How to Value Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Clive L. Spash, Iulie Aslaksen

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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In this paper we explore the discourses of ecology, environmental economics, new
environmental pragmatism and social ecological economics as they relate to the value of
ecosystems and biodiversity. Conceptualizing biodiversity and ecosystems as goods and
services that can be represented by monetary values in policy processes is an economic
discourse being increasingly championed by ecologists and conservation biologists. The
latter promote a new environmental pragmatism internationally as hardwiring biodiversity
and ecosystems services into finance. The approach adopts a narrow instrumentalism, denies
value pluralism and incommensurability, and downplays the role of scientific knowledge.
Re-establishing an ecological discourse in biodiversity policy implies a crucial role for
biophysical indicators as independent policy targets, exemplified in this paper by the Nature
Index for Norway. Yet, there is a recognisable need to go beyond a traditional ecological
approach to one recognising the interconnections of social, ecological and economic
problems. This requires reviving and relating to a range of alternative ecologically informed
discourses, including an ecofeminist perspective, in order to transform the increasingly
dominant and destructive relationship of humans separated from and domineering over
Nature. (authors' abstract)
HerausgeberWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2014


ReiheSRE - Discussion Papers

WU Working Paper Reihe

  • SRE - Discussion Papers